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February 16, 2013

45 spend $647 in cash mob event

The Daily Star

---- — Downtown Oneonta’s first “cash mob” Tuesday was a success, attracting about 45 participants and putting $647 into the cash register of Shakedown Street at 177 Main St., its organizer said this week.

“For a first-time event in the dead of winter upstate, I’d say it was a pretty decent success,” said Mark Kleszczewski, who works for Kick Start Capital.

He said before the event that he would have been happy with 25 to 30 cash mobbers.

He added that the $647 in sales at the store came in less than 45 minutes, 10 percent of which was donated to the Harper’s Heart Foundation charity.

“If there’s enough interest, I think Oneonta definitely could stand to have more of these events,” he said, adding that he going to talk to the Otsego County Chamber and Main Street Oneonta about continuing the event.

“Ideally, we would have it monthly, and the key would be that it would be a different store that would be eligible,” he said.

“We had all sorts of people who said they hadn’t been downtown, in that section, in years.”

Hospital-improvement payments

A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta and Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown are among 54 upstate hospitals and health centers that earned at total of $26 million in quality improvement incentive payments last year from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the insurer has reported.

“Our many years of working with our hospital partners to drive improvement in quality of care and patient safety by linking payments to improvements in health outcomes provides a strong foundation for the new models of collaboration anticipated with health care reform.” said Carrie Frank, vice president of quality and health informatics at Excellus BCBS.

Launched in 2004, the program evaluates participating hospitals on more than 300 performance measures. In 2012, hospitals achieved 87 percent of all target quality levels. Target outcomes are jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Group, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and others.

Getting a farm started

Eleanor Blakeslee-Drain and Patrick Hennebery will give a presentation titled, “From the Ground Up: Beginning Farmers in the Catskills” Tuesday night at Hartwick College’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus .

Blakeslee-Drain and Hennebery operate Berry Brook Farm in Walton, and they will discuss their experiences as interns, apprentices and new farm owners and operators. Blakeslee-Drain will also share information on programs and resources available for local beginning farmers, including Catskills CRAFT and Catskills FarmLink.

The 7 p.m. talk, which is part of the Conversations at the Lake sustainability discussion series, will be held in the Strawbale House at Hartwick’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus, 1894 Charlotte Creek Road in Oneonta. This event is free, and open to the public.

Quick hits

The Otsego County Chamber’s Networking Luncheon will be held Feb. 27, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Foothills Performing Arts Center’s atrium. The cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Lunch will be catered by Sunrise Specialty Catering. … David Mirabito, a Syracuse-based senior financial executive at MetLife Financial Group of Upstate New York, has been named as a third co-host for “Financial Fitness,” the longest-running weekly show on WCNY-TV. … Commerce Chenango, along with Matthews Auto Group, will hold a Chamber Business After Hours event at 175 East Main St. in Norwich on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Richard Whitby reports on business news for The Daily Star. To contact him, call 432-1000, ext. 221, or email